Depression and stroke

The combined studies reported 8478 stroke cases during follow-up periods that ranged from two to 29 years.

Depression was associated with a 45% increased risk of total stroke, a 55% increased risk of fatal stroke and a 25% increased risk of ischaemic stroke. The study indicated that depression was not associated with increased risk of haemorrhagic stroke.

The researchers suggest several possible mechanisms, including neuroendocrine and inflammatory effects. They also point out the association between depression and poor health behaviours such as smoking, physical inactivity and lack of medication adherence.

JAMA 2011; 306(11):1241-49